"Haters gonna hate, trolls gonna troll. An Internet troll is a member of an online social community who deliberately tries to disrupt, attack, offend or generally cause trouble within the community by posting certain comments, photos, videos, GIFs or some other form of online content."
When I decided to interview BC Wine Memes (if you don't know this account, have a look on Instagram), I'd be lying if I didn't admit I was a bit concerned of the backlash. In fact, when I announced it on my channels, I received many replies in varying incarnations of "gross", "oh this ought to be good", and "oh my".
BC Wine Memes has wreaked havoc since its inception and is not relegated solely to British Columbia. When I first moved to Toronto and met with some notable sommeliers, the first thing they asked was: "Who is BC Wine Memes?".
BC Wine Memes' commentary on the wine industry at large seems to be that of an insider - poignant and ruthless towards its contemporaries. For this reason, a seemingly inconsequential troll account has managed to ruffle many feathers.
When I approached BC Wine Memes for an interview (with caveats of what I would and would not publish), the answer was a resounding yes.
Here is our conversation:
S+C: You’re very vocal about what you think is “wrong” with the BC wine industry; what deems you to be an authority on the topic, especially an anonymous one?
BCWM: this is my h8ers favourite question. u no i cant reveal any sort of experience or credentials because that would absolutely put people on the scent of determining who i was. ive been vague about my connections to this industry intentionally and some people may use that to dismiss me but at the same time i dont think there should be some kind of pre-req for being a critic of something. also dont know how i feel about being called an "authority" a lot of what i bring up comes from my own knowledge taste and experience but thats just like my opinion
S+C: What traits/attributes do you think need improvement? What would an ideal landscape look like to you?
BCWM: i mean shit, we r like a forty yr old industry. everything needs to change. the whole bc wine industry is in its infancy rite now and u can sure feel it - lots of winemakers bio page is just some story about how they went to "region X" and were so inspired by this and that so they want to make that style of wine. instead they should be figuring out what our style and tradition is instead of playing winemaker dressup. i dunno ive been watching a lot of david changs "ugly delicious" lately and he talks about it in the context of white guys travelling to asia and deciding to open a noodle joint wen they get home. kinda reminds me of that. same energy. also fuck me can social media/advertising managers just include SOME people who arent white like shit representation matters lets show everyone they are welcome in this industry.
S+C: Why do you have such disdain for natural wine?
BCWM: ok this disdain for natty wine thing... look one of my fave wines ive tried for this dumb project was sperlings orange wine. there are other bc natty wines which i love 2 much to even DREAM of bringing up on this project. using native or ambient yeast is so challenging and difficult and im so impressed wen its done well. but u have these new kids coming in thinking they can ignore the lab work and ignore winery sanitation and that the resulting faults that obliterate any complexity or nuance in the wine result in some kind of terroir character? fuck off. do ur homework. and now its becoming trendy and people are going to drink it and pretend they like it to seem cool and its all gonna collapse. also i could write a whole article about the sulphite thing.
S+C: Essentially you’re just a troll account but a lot of what you say resonates with many - was that your goal?
BCWM: you could fully remove the word "essentially". i am a meme account. i am flabbergasted wen people take my shit srs. i think the resonation comes from there being a lot of pressure in this industry to be "right" about a wine and that causes a lot of repression of dissenting opinion in people. then some dipshit like me comes along and starts making fun of it all and the air gets let out a little bit. my intention was to create a space to vent after a hard day and it just kind of caught on.
S+C: What do you think is great about BC?
BCWM: BC has so much going for it like hell we have two incredibly distinct regions in both the okanagan and vancouver island we have a diverse culture we have a ton of rich idiots wanting to start wineries we just need time to develop a true culture of wine here.
S+C: What’s your response to the snobbery and stigma of BC wine? Is it accurate?
BCWM: i still encounter anti-bc wine sentiment more often than i encounter the opposite. but the weirdest snobbery i run into is in tasting rooms. the way some of these gms have their room run is so... clinical. stop trying to recreate ur favourite chateau and start connecting with people. u no that scene in Wine Country with amy poehler and that guy is running a tasting for them and the way he describes chardonnay as "if cabernet is the king of grapes, chardonnay is his queen" and you instantly hate him and the winery? that scene had me screeming at my tv i felt so seen in that moment.
S+C: Who’s making progress and doing good for BC wine?
BCWM: there are some real rockstar producers out there both new and old and as far as im concerned that should be our spearhead. make good wine. make wine so good that markets beg u to sell to them. we dont need to be flying spurrier (bless his heart) out every year as a publicity stunt. Meyer Family makes the best Chardonnay in north america the fucking Black Hills Nota Bene always melts my heart. Ursa Major Orofino Kitsch are all doing interesting things. Vancouver Island is popping off like holy shit. Rathjens Pinot Gris was so creative Kutatas is killing it Averil Creeks Joue is such a cool departure from what they used to do Venturi Schulze and Zanatta are still killing it back from like day one in the nineties. These r just a handful of the awesome shit we do. those are my gold stars. my wish is that more restaurants in Van would get on board. two bc btg options on your menu is not supporting bc wine.
S+C: You’ve voiced a lot of pet peeves - what would you say is your biggest gripe?
BCWM: stemless. fucking. glasses.
S+C: Do you think what you’re doing is useful?
BCWM: no. but its fun.
S+C: When’s the reveal party ?
BCWM: there is an endgame i have in mind. if it ever stops bringing me joy ill just fade away (for any of my enemies i will also vanish for $69,420.00). but as far as a reveal goes ull just have to wait and see ;)